Posts tagged ‘Sandwiches’

March 11, 2015

Simple Homemade Chicken Salad

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A long time ago I was watching an episode of the Barefoot Contessa and she was making chicken salad. You know, preparing for one of her fabulous picnic lunches at the beach with her guy friends or playing bridge with the boys, drinking champagne cocktails and eating homemade blinis with smoked salmon… I want to be her. Who wouldn’t love her life? Anyway, she was making chicken salad and had this genius method to make the chicken. Whole bone-in chicken breasts, rubbed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven on a sheet pan. Perfect every time. I stole that method for my chicken salad here.

I’ve seen many chicken salad recipes that call for poaching the chicken. I just can’t deal with the chicken simmering in water thing. Smelly, but happy memories of the apartment building my great-grandmother lived in has me scarred. For some reason it always smelled like boiled chicken. Is that a Jewish thing, boiling chickens? Oy Gevalt!

I also don’t always love the rotisserie chickens pre-made from the grocery store, though I know they can be a great shortcut. So this is my solution… successful every time, from scratch, super simple chicken salad. You can make chicken this way to toss in salads, like a cobb salad or chicken Caesar salad, or for any other recipe that calls for cooked chicken breast.

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INGREDIENTS

  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2lbs)
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup light mayo (please use Hellman’s)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

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  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan skin side up. Loosen the skin gently on each breast and tuck a small sprig of thyme under the skin.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over each one and sprinkle kosher salt and pepper on each breast. Using your hands, rub it evenly all over the chicken.
  4. Place the sheet pan in the oven on the center rack and roast for about 35-40 minutes depending on how big your chicken breasts are. I use a meat thermometer and check them at 30 minutes. They are done when they reach 165 degrees.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the sheet pan from the oven and set it aside allowing the chicken to cool completely.
  6. When they have cooled, remove the meat from each chicken breast, discarding the bones and skin. Cut the meat into large bite sized pieces.
  7. In a large bowl, place the cubed chicken with the mayo, chopped parsley and Dijon mustard. Stir well to combine and season with salt and pepper.

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Enjoy!

April 12, 2012

The Perfect Panini

I’ve committed a lot of time to the sandwich at 4plates. Creating unique sandwiches, finding ways to use leftovers to make a sandwich, talking about sandwiches, and of course, eating sandwiches. I’ve declared that the sandwich is my husband’s favorite food group, and other than the banana, it could quite possibly be the perfect food. According to Alan Davidson’s Oxford Food Companion, the origin of the sandwich is generally attributed to the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. He was said to have eaten his food in the form of a sandwich to avoid having to stop playing cards. Meat tucked between two pieces of bread, kept the cards free from meaty, greasy fingers… lovely.

The sandwich has evolved far beyond the Earl’s slab of meat on bread. Almost every culture has their own version of the sandwich. It’s no surprise that the Italians have perfected the marriage of meat and bread with their panini sandwich. Whether made on a hearty ciabatta, perfectly baked focaccia or slices of Italian boule, it’s fantastico!  We received a panini press years ago as a gift, and I have to admit we use it often. It makes the insides deliciously melty, and the bread gets that perfect grilled crunch. No oil or butter needed on the outside of the bread, eliminating unnecessary calories. I have a Delonghi machine, but there are many brands & styles available. For around fifty bucks, you can get yourself a nice electric panini press.

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH APPLES & BRIE

INGREDIENTS

  • Sliced grilled chicken breast
  • Sliced Granny Smith apples
  • Brie cheese
  • Whole grain baguette
  • A schmear of Dijon

ROSEMARY HAM, MANCHEGO & FIG PRESERVES

INGREDIENTS

  • Sliced ham (Serrano or I use Boars Head Rosemary Ham)
  • Manchego Spanish cheese, sliced
  • Fresh rosemary (just a few chopped leaves sprinkled inside the sandwich)
  • Fig preserves
  • Hearty sliced Italian boule or other rustic bread

FRESH MOZZARELLA, ROASTED PEPPERS, BASIL LEAVES & BALSAMIC

INGREDIENTS

  • Sliced fresh mozzarella
  • Whole basil leaves
  • Roasted red peppers (jarred is fine here, just pat them dry before putting on the sandwich)
  • Sliced Italian bread
  • Drizzle of good balsamic vinegar

MIX AND MATCH PANINI PAIRINGS

Many a panini has been made in our kitchen. Here is a list of a some delectable ingredients that you can put between a hearty hunk of bread. It’s like the old Chinese restaurant menus… pick one from column A, two from column B and pray the fortune cookie you picked has you winning the lottery.

MEATS: Prosciutto, capicola, spicy soppressata, grilled chicken & good quality sliced turkey

CHEESES: Goat cheese, smoked or fresh mozzarella, super sharp provolone, fontina, Manchego & brie

VEGGIES & GREENS: Arugula, baby spinach, swiss chard, kale, artichokes, sliced avocado & of course, tomatoes

GRILLED VEGETABLES: Eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, Portobello mushrooms, yellow squash & red onions

SPREADS & SAUCES: Basil or sun-dried tomato pesto, fig or raspberry preserves, olive tapenade, balsamic drizzle & Sriracha for that spicy kick

* Don’t forget you can sweeten it up too. Nutella and banana could be the best combo yet!

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